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mother is being granny to strangers!

(186 Posts)
ventia Mon 16-Apr-18 20:15:47

Parents went abroad, back to their own EU country after living in UK for 40 years, I visit twice a year and take my family over. We are in contact by phone once a week, for chats.

They have neighbours, who work full-time til late, the lady has become a very good friend with my mother and the kids are now going to my mothers house after school and have dinner there and are picked up around 7pm twice a week, the other days they have a childminder. If they are at school and sick, my mother picks them up from school and they stay at her house til parents get home.

Yes, I am am a little jealous, and so are my kids, plus we think it is weird that neighbours kids photos are framed and up next to our photos! She talks to them like a grandma, I heard them on the phone together, she says the stuff a grandmas says. My mother talks about them all the time, she goes to their assemblies and shows at school, like a grandma would. I told my mother to stop going on about them!!

Neighbours do nice things for her, give gifts, invite her to dinner and are around if anything were to happen to her I suppose.

I told my mother to just tell them to do it once in a while, not regularly, she refused. We argued over it, she says it keeps her occupied, fine but is it not odd to be subsidizing their income?

My concerns;

My mum is not in great health, she needs to take it easier. I know her limits.

My dad is making a huge fuss over it. He says nothing to their faces, but he emails and calls me complaining, the are kids bothering him, in his own house, whining, he wants quiet. He does not like them, thinks they are using my mother. He is disabled and grumpy. He argues with my mother over it. My mother cannot stand him, they never got on, and she said this other family gives her an outlet away from his horrible grumpy company!

I told my dad? what do you expect me to do, I agree with him but he has given now me the neighbours phone number, he said why don't you contact her and tell her to lay off? should I? My mother will be really upset if I do though.

I have never met the neighbour or her children, she knows I am avoiding her, I do not want the children there when I visit, as I resent having to entertain them during my limited visit, so I think she must know how I feel. Maybe it is just too good a deal to care.

educatingarti Mon 16-Apr-18 20:19:10

If both your parents have ' capacity' or, they are not suffering from dementia, then it is not up to you to sort it out. They have to sort it out between them. What is stopping your dad talking to the neighbours if he feels that strongly. Don't get dragged into it.

Prettylovely Mon 16-Apr-18 20:20:42

Wow your Mum sounds lovely, You are very lucky to have such a loving mother that has a big enough heart to share with other people. It makes her happy and your Dad obviously doesn't as she expresses to you, Its her outlet of enjoyment, Be happy for her.

blueskyinmarch Mon 16-Apr-18 20:21:23

Your mother sounds lovely and is filling a gap left by you and your family being far away and your dad and her not getting on. Why it bothers you so much I don't know. It is possible to love children who are not related to you.

Cynara Mon 16-Apr-18 20:23:46

You and your children live miles away from your mother, who has to put up with a man she can't stand. She's formed a relationship with neighbouring children that benefits both of them. They make her happy and keep her occupied and fulfilled. Be happy for her! It's not raking anything away from you or your children. She does have a life of her own, and that continues for the 50 or so weeks of the year that you're not there!

LorelaiVictoriaGilmore Mon 16-Apr-18 20:25:51

My mum has always 'adopted' people... my friends, my sister's friends, kids she has taught, their friends... I kind of love that she's that kind of person. And I'm totally secure that I am totally loved by her so am not at all threatened by it! I think your mum sounds lovely!

Lethaldrizzle Mon 16-Apr-18 20:26:51

I think the mother should take her husband's feelings into account no matter how much she may dislike him. It is his home too

Greenyogagirl Mon 16-Apr-18 20:27:04

Your mum sounds wonderful and she has enough love to go around. Have you thought that with you living so far away she misses out on being a granny and missing the grandchildren but being able to look after and do granny things might make her feel better.

TheQueenOfWands Mon 16-Apr-18 20:27:10

She's found herself a surrogate family and her life now has purpose.

What would she do otherwise? Sit in silence with your grumpy dad who she can't stand?

If she's happy then let her live her life as she sees fit.

user1493413286 Mon 16-Apr-18 20:27:51

I’m not really sure what your issue is; your Mum is obviously filling the gap that your children not being local leaves for her. That’s not a criticism as you live where you live and I’m in a similar position being a distance from my family.
It makes your mum happy and it doesn’t sound like they’re taking advantage as your mum gets just as much out of it as them.
Your dads issues about it are not your problem and I think he’s being quite selfish.
If you put a stop to it then you’re going to make your mum unhappy and I’m not sure to what benefit.
I understand your feelings of jealousy as I would feel the same way but I think you’re letting it take over. Your mum lives with someone she cannot stand as you put it, you are some distance away and you haven’t given any evidence it’s effecting her health so why one earth take away something giving her so much happiness

ventia Mon 16-Apr-18 20:28:00

It would not really be as much of a problem for me if my dad was ok with it.

I think it is a bit exploitative, the family could be friends - without this basically unpaid employee/grandma position.

I have always sorted out their marital problems, I know I need to leave them to it. However my dad is making threats to come back and stay with me on extended visits, and I do not want him!

AnchorDownDeepBreath Mon 16-Apr-18 20:28:12

It doesn't sound like you do know your mums limits - clearly she's coping with this.

To be honest, you sound exceptionally put out that they've gone home and now have what you are choosing to frame as a "replacement family". It's a lovely thing that she's doing, and as you said; it means they have people close by who will help them if they need it.

LiquoriceTea Mon 16-Apr-18 20:28:23

Your Mum sounds lovely. I would love a surrogate gran for my kids.

Greenyogagirl Mon 16-Apr-18 20:28:36

And I think she knows her limits better than you, particularly when you don’t see her pushing her limits etc

Greenyogagirl Mon 16-Apr-18 20:29:48

Exploitive?! Wow have you never heard of friendship or favours

iamyourequal Mon 16-Apr-18 20:30:17

Neighbours do nice things for her, give gifts, invite her to dinner and are around if anything were to happen to her I suppose.

Focus on this and try to get over your obvious jealousy. The arrangement seems to be giving your mum happiness and probably filling a void in her life caused by being so far away from her own family.

FASH84 Mon 16-Apr-18 20:31:57

YABVU Your mum sounds great, my gran has done something similar, the childcare isn't as regular, but she's now also become a paid carer for another elderly neighbour, she then gives the money to a local charity. My grandad has slowed down more than she has, and she was a nursery teacher by trade, some people thrive on building positive relationships and helping others. Your mum probably wants some interaction that's not with your grumpy controlling father. It is absolutely none of your business, if you contact them you're being manipulated to do your dad's bidding. Also she won't stop it will just cause issues between you and her. You should be proud she's such a wonderful person. She's made it clear she feels it benefits her and you've acknowledged the neighbours are good to her. Be glad she's got support close at hand too.

Bluelady Mon 16-Apr-18 20:32:10

A woman with a lot of love to give lives who with a grumpy old man and has no access to her grandchildren has adopted another family who are kind to her and love her back. We should all be so lucky. If you love your mum, back off.

Mydoghatesthebath Mon 16-Apr-18 20:32:32

Mmm sounds toxic all round.

You are jealous and I understand that.

Your mum may be lonely and seeing this family as a substitute or she’s doing it to piss off your dad

Your dad may be miserably but really why should he have kids around he doesn’t want.

What a mess.

Cynara Mon 16-Apr-18 20:33:57

Their marital problems are not your issue to sort out. Step back from that and don't get involved. You don't want your dad so you'd rather your mum didn't do things he doesn't like??? If you don't want him to come to you, don't let him, but don't expect your poor mum to placate him!

CheeseyToast Mon 16-Apr-18 20:34:36

Your mum is lovely but your dad sounds awful! Why would you even consider conspiring with him to derail your mother's life?! Shocking.

You and your dad need to take long, hard looks at yourselves - or move in together. How mean you both are.

ventia Mon 16-Apr-18 20:35:27

I know she has health problems, they are affected by exertion, no I cannot prove it, just worried. I worry she got herself in to something, that she is too polite to get out of, if she wanted to tone it down. She is lovely, thats the point! Yes I am a bit jealous, I admit it, but I am saying this because I care. My dad is goading me, he cares too though, I only knew how much she was doing from my dad. My mother did did not tell me the full extent of how much she was doing, she knew I would think it was a replacement thing, and I bet she would feel the same other way round.

MycatsaPirate Mon 16-Apr-18 20:35:44


Your mum sounds happy and content with her life. She has little kids in her life again that she clearly loves being with. She has support from her neighbours and a good friendship/relationship with them.

I don't know why you are getting involved. It's not impacting on your mums health by the sounds of it, but it does seem that your dad (by your own admission is a grumpy old man) is trying to chain your mum to him only and wants you to intervene. Please don't do this!

I have no idea why you are sorting out your parents marital problems or getting involved in their arguments. Leave them to sort it out.

It seems that you only want your mum to stop in case you have to have your dad to stay. He sounds controlling to threaten that.

Encourage your mum, I bet she has discovered a new reason for living and that's wonderful.

WorkingBling Mon 16-Apr-18 20:35:46

Your mum sounds lovelh. And you sound small minded and petty. That may sound harsh but i grew up without grandparents and an arrangement like this would have made me blissfully happy. And it sounds like they love and value her back, which is amazing and probably makes them all happy.

I cant speak for your dad but thats between them. Stay out of it.

nadinexxx Mon 16-Apr-18 20:36:53

my neighbour dotes on my children as she misses her grandchildren in manila and they're the same age as mine so she buys them things at Easter and Xmas and makes them little cakes etc... i don't leave them with her she has offered but I've never needed her to look after them really.
We in return take her shopping, pick up bits for her, look after the house when she's away etc..
I think your mum is doing the same thing, she misses her grandchildren and so is loving spending time with the neighbours kids, it shouldn't bother you unless you think they really are taking advantage of her

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